Herzog & de Meuron
Project
2006-2009
Realization
2008-2012

Burgos

Burgos is a midsized Spanish city in the northern region of Castile y León, historically known as the ‘land of castles.’ Still today the region has many historical buildings lending to its character and making it an attractive place to live and visit. Relative to the rest of Spain, Burgos experiences cooler temperatures both in summer and winter, due to its distance from the coast and its elevation of 850 m.

Historically Burgos was located on a major trade route, which later became part of the pilgrimage route ‘El Camino de Santiago de Compostela’. Today tens of thousands set out along this walk every year. The legacy continues as Spain is investing in a new high-speed train network connecting northern and central Spain. Burgos is expecting to benefit from its location as a major stop between Bilbao and Madrid. Once in operation, Burgos will be 90 minutes from Madrid and one hour from Bilbao, which is comparable to the average commuting times in many major cities.

Masterplan and Boulevard

The design for a new Boulevard in Burgos is integral to the Masterplan by Herzog & de Meuron designed in 2004-2006 which was implemented into the Urban Development Plan for Burgos in 2007. The commission to develop the city’s Masterplan was a consequence of the arrival of the AVE high-speed train in Burgos. Because the new tracks are located along the periphery of the current urbanized area, the land of the former rail tracks became available for a new Boulevard and associated development.

A New Public Artery, a New Landscape

What had previously been an unbridgeable wound in the body of the city — the tracks — will become a new central spine. The Boulevard, approximately 11km long, crosses the entire city as a public axis running from east-to-west. The new street adapts to the topography and other specific local conditions of the existing city fabric by changing in width and speed. It will restore adjacent neighbourhoods along the way and connect them from north-to-south. The Boulevard will be the third key linear element of the city, together with the Arlanzón River and the Camino de Santiago.

Beyond offering vital new transport connections, the Boulevard is a continuous new landscape through the city. The proposal by landscape architect Michel Desvigne was extended beyond the immediate area of the old railway

tracks in order to encompass a broader area and tie into the surroundings. The design operates on two levels: the classical urban scale of the public space such as paths, sidewalks, squares and gardens; as well as the larger territorial scale of meadows and woodlands where large numbers of trees are planted to create parks. The species of trees are selected to give consistency to the dense woodlands planted throughout the Boulevard. They are species native to Burgos such as pine, oak, ash, beech, sessile oak, willow and juniper. The trees are planted following three different sized grids: the largest is a regular 5.0 m grid, the medium is a 2.5 m grid and the smallest is an irregular 0.5 m distribution.

The Boulevard incorporates low-speed traffic (cyclists and pedestrians), private vehicular traffic as well as new public transportation services. It is designed to accommodate a low-emission, energy-efficient tram system — potentially powered by renewable energy sources. Before the tram will hopefully be implemented, a bus uses the lane reserved for public transportation.

Materials and Urban Furniture

Instead of inventing a fashionable architectural language for the Boulevard’s materials and furnishings, we chose to engage with the city’s historical character. Applying more or less known materials in an unusual and generous way we developed a new language out of an existing palette. The sidewalks are wide wherever space allows for it and are enveloped in substantial landscaping, both in ground cover and large clusters of trees. The sidewalks are made of basic poured asphalt with exposed local limestone aggregate to tie in with the surrounding landscape. The wooden benches have a traditional form but surprise by being either very long or circular, or both, in order to promote social encounters. Reminiscent of older times, the lighting is a network of lamps designed by Herzog & de Meuron that are suspended from wires, adding a festive quality throughout the length of the Boulevard. The same wires will be used to eventually deliver power to the future tram.

Instead of designing a completely new bus shelter ourselves, we were inspired by the work of Ursula Schulz-Dornburg called “The Architectures of Waiting”. It is a series of photographs that the artist took in 1997 of bus-stops in Armenia and Saudi Arabia. We have appropriated some of these bus-stops in polished concrete and galvanized steel. Instead of being simply functional shelters, the beauty of these small structures is how they relate to the human body, and that they are sculptural and somewhat poetic social gathering places.

Phases

The first phase of the Boulevard around the Estación del AVE (0.6 km) was opened in 2008 and the following phases have been completed in 2011 and 2012. With six kilometres of the Bulevar completed, it now connects the area of the Antigua Estación across the old town and the river Arlanzón to the very populated recent parts of town (Gamonal), and can fulfil the principal role of a new east-west artery in town.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2012

295_CO_111215_001_JV
295_CO_111215_001_JV
295_CP_1103_022_AN
295_CP_1103_022_AN
295_CP_1103_T3_SELECTION_080_E
295_CP_1103_T3_SELECTION_080_E

Process

Burgos lies on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and is a city of churches.

266_RE_0612_501_K
266_RE_0612_501_K
266_SI_0603_501_GREEN1_BIRD_L
266_SI_0603_501_GREEN1_BIRD_L
266_SI_0501_001_HISTORICAL
266_SI_0501_001_HISTORICAL
295_CP_1206_1499_EO_U
295_CP_1206_1499_EO_U
266_SI_060727_502
266_SI_060727_502
266_RE_0612_522_K_0
266_RE_0612_522_K_0

The high-speed railway connects Burgos to the Paris-Madrid line and stops at Bilbao.

266_DR_0605_500
266_DR_0605_500
266_RE_0612_505_K
266_RE_0612_505_K
266_RE_0612_503_K_0
266_RE_0612_503_K_0
295_SI_0412_183_EC
295_SI_0412_183_EC
266_RE_0612_507_K
266_RE_0612_507_K
266_RE_0612_528_K
266_RE_0612_528_K
295_SI_0412_141_EC
295_SI_0412_141_EC
266_SI_0603_500_GAMONAL_L
266_SI_0603_500_GAMONAL_L

A three-step master plan. First step: thanks to the new railroad line, 12 km of inner-city railroad bed have been freed up for a boulevard. Second step: the neighborhoods are densified. Third step: new neighborhoods emerge on the edge of the city.

266_RE_0612_508_K
266_RE_0612_508_K
266_SI_0506_019
266_SI_0506_019
266_SI_0504_261_VISIT3-KPK
266_SI_0504_261_VISIT3-KPK
295_SI_0605_155_EspolonCI
295_SI_0605_155_EspolonCI
271_CI_0703_006_CITYMAP1
271_CI_0703_006_CITYMAP1
266_RE_0612_516_K
266_RE_0612_516_K
266_RE_0612_510_K
266_RE_0612_510_K

The proposal for the Burgos Bulevar is presented at an exhibition in Burgos.

266_RE_0612_546_K
266_RE_0612_546_K
295_EV_0610_015_Exhibition
295_EV_0610_015_Exhibition
266_MO_0603_001
266_MO_0603_001

Specific locations before and after converting the railroad line into a boulevard. They link extremely diverse neighborhoods.

295_SI_0504_043_EC
295_SI_0504_043_EC
295_CP_1206_0721_EO_U
295_CP_1206_0721_EO_U
295_SI_0412_116_EC
295_SI_0412_116_EC
295_CP_1206_1295_EO_U
295_CP_1206_1295_EO_U
295_SI_0412_109_EC
295_SI_0412_109_EC
295_CP_1206_1317_EO_U
295_CP_1206_1317_EO_U
295_CP_1206_1093_EO_U
295_CP_1206_1093_EO_U
295_SI_0412_132_EC
295_SI_0412_132_EC

For the public squares, the architects have designed drop-shaped lamps, which are already in use at the Plaza de España in Tenerife.

295_CI_0608_125_Lighting
295_CI_0608_125_Lighting
295_DR_0608_043_Light
295_DR_0608_043_Light
295_MU_0611_068_Transparent
295_MU_0611_068_Transparent
295_MU_0706_501_K
295_MU_0706_501_K
295_CI_0701_148
295_CI_0701_148
295_MO_0703_223_Pasarella
295_MO_0703_223_Pasarella
295_CP_1206_0723_EO_U
295_CP_1206_0723_EO_U
295_CP_1010_006
295_CP_1010_006

The boulevard brings the landscape back into the city; local stone chips give the asphalt a natural touch.

295_SA_0704_029_Asphalt
295_SA_0704_029_Asphalt
295_CP_1103_015_an
295_CP_1103_015_an
295_EV_1103_132
295_EV_1103_132
295_CI_0710_080
295_CI_0710_080

Proposal for public pathways and greenery, in collaboration with Michel Desvigne.

295_RFcl_0000_059_MD_Paris
295_RFcl_0000_059_MD_Paris
295_RFnl_0000_100_Dvigne_Grwich
295_RFnl_0000_100_Dvigne_Grwich
295_CP_110325_575_131
295_CP_110325_575_131
295_CP_1206_1187_EO
295_CP_1206_1187_EO
295_PP_0710_074_K
295_PP_0710_074_K
295_CP_1206_1268_EO_U
295_CP_1206_1268_EO_U
295_CP_0903_010
295_CP_0903_010

To design the bus stops, the architects have taken inspiration from bus shelters in Armenia and Saudi Arabia.

295_CI_0704_069_Busstop
295_CI_0704_069_Busstop
295_CO_1106_Bushaltesellten
295_CO_1106_Bushaltesellten
295_CO_1102_083
295_CO_1102_083
295_CP_1206_0701_EO
295_CP_1206_0701_EO
295_CP_1206_0813_EO
295_CP_1206_0813_EO
295_CP_1206_1353_EO
295_CP_1206_1353_EO
295_CP_1206_0738_EO
295_CP_1206_0738_EO

The park benches reference typologies in Central Park, New York.

295_CI_0000_501_K
295_CI_0000_501_K
295_CO_0907_4092
295_CO_0907_4092
295_CP_1206_1314_EO
295_CP_1206_1314_EO

The road bridge over the Rio Arlanzón is divided, illuminating the terrain underneath and creating meeting places.

295_SI_0506_017_Quinta
295_SI_0506_017_Quinta
295_CP_1206_0707_EO
295_CP_1206_0707_EO
295_MO_0706_017_Bridge
295_MO_0706_017_Bridge
295_EV_120412_PdM_001
295_EV_120412_PdM_001
295_MO_0000_501_K
295_MO_0000_501_K
295_EV_120412_PdM_012
295_EV_120412_PdM_012
295_CP_1206_0852_EO
295_CP_1206_0852_EO
295_CP_1206_0866_EO
295_CP_1206_0866_EO

A network of public squares on the new boulevard connects the once separated neighborhoods to the right and left of the railway line.

295_CP_1103_022_an
295_CP_1103_022_an
295_EV_1103_198
295_EV_1103_198
295_CP_1206_1070_EO
295_CP_1206_1070_EO
295_EV_1103_197
295_EV_1103_197
295_CP_0903_006
295_CP_0903_006
295_CP_1206_0736_EO
295_CP_1206_0736_EO
295_CP_1103_046_an
295_CP_1103_046_an
295_CP_1010_007
295_CP_1010_007
295_CP_1206_0725_EO
295_CP_1206_0725_EO

Drawings

295_DR_0710_20
295_DR_0710_20
295_DR_0710_8
295_DR_0710_8

Bibliography

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 2005-2007. The Complete Works. Volume 6.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel, Birkhäuser, 2018.

Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva Monografías. Herzog & de Meuron 2005-2013.” Vol. No. 157/158, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva SL, 09.2012.

Gilles A. Tiberghien: “A Landscape Deferred.” In: Intermediate Natures. “The Landscape of Michel Desvigne.” Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2009. pp. 151-179

Location